Friday, December 19, 2014

O Clavis David

O Clavis David

Dominican student brothers in Oxford.

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
who opened and none can close
claudis, et nemo aperit:
you shut and none can open
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
those who in darkness dwell and from the shadow of death.

Christmas Wish

One thing I wish is that someone in my family would need their car worked on in the next few days.  The garage in the next town were they all go is owned by a lovely Lebanese family and at Christmas they give out the most wonderful baklava type pastry made by the mother to their old customers.  Not too sweet with lots of nuts.  The best I've ever hard.

I think I'll go sabotage someone's car by dark of night.  Unfortunately, I don't drive anymore or I'd sabotage mine.

Anonymous - Magnificat


Perfugium -  Church of St . Joseph in Krakow

 Bogumil Kowalska , Natalia Forging , Joanna Przybyłowska ,
 Bozena Solarz - Sopranos
Zofia Nowak , Magdalena Rychiak - Altos
James Blycharz , Matthew Solarz , Matthew Smith - Tenors
Michael Klos , Peter Przybyłowski  - Bases

Healey Willan - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir

Rupert Lang, director

Vytautas Miškinis - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

State choir VILNIUS
Conductor Povilas Gylys

How's that for your divided parts?  I'd like to know how many there are in this setting.

Rihards Dubra - O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse

Choir of Merton College, Oxford

Something To Be Thankful For

You don't need sex advice from Amanda Marcotte.

Because The Law, The Prophets and The Gospel Are Radical I Am Radical

Years ago, before the rise of the new atheism, back when it was still just atheism, back before its online archive lists, I remember reading an article in one of the lefty magazines I subscribed to* which criticized religious leftists because the author said they needed a crutch to support their radicalism but that atheists didn't need that.  Which, at the time, I was willing to accept out of that habit of fairness to different points of view and the faith that because we all claimed to have the same goals that our differences didn't matter.  What I've come to see was never based in a rigorous consideration of the situation and the liklihood of which attitudes and actions were likely to lead to those goals being made real in politics and in life.

In part that passive acceptance was  due to not having the resources to really investigate the claims made in that article.  It's something that, after looking far more deeply at what atheists say and do since going online, I think is evidence free bilge.  For example, the article included praise for the most prominent atheist in the United States, Madalyn Murray O'Hair who, I have since learned, had as many flaws as any sleazy TV based hallelujah peddler or corrupt cardinal and a record of the most vulgar materialism, theft and fraud behind the thinnest of false fronts.  She was presented by the article as some kind of radical activist by virtue of her war against religion.  For a lot of people reputedly on the left, that is the defining issue for them, atheism and hatred of religion.  It is why you encounter people allegedly of the left who still hold a torch for Christopher Hitchens and who mistake Sam Harris as a lefty.  To continue with the general theme from yesterday.

Such folk cannot conceive of a Christian as being a political radical, far more radical, in just about every case I've confronted, than the callow atheist who accuses you of holding regressive positions you don't, even those who idolize Hitchens, who actually did hold them.   It is a never ending thing, having people on the supposed left doubt your credentials as a leftist because you, as the vast majority of people on the left, are not atheists.  And, I would say, that I have known more atheists formerly of the left turn conservative than I have religious leftists who have turned.  My experience is that it is not unknown for religious people to become more liberal as they age.  I have become far, far more radical as I abandoned the self-imposed blinders of agnosticism and have seen that a real program of the left is founded in religious values that atheism corrodes.  Atheism which, like almost all of it, is based in materialism, at least.

I am radical because The Law and the prophets and The Gospels, Acts and the epistles are all radical.  I was a radical while I was an agnostic and hostile to religion because of the tradition I inherited from Christians.  I think that's what accounts for whatever liberalism the largest majority of non-religious people in the United States holds, it's a habit of that tradition in their habits of thought. It can endure for a generation or two but will, I've observed, deteriorate the farther from its roots it gets.

American style liberalism, as opposed to the libertarian, laissez-faire,  British-European "liberalism" is a product of that tradition and that it cannot be sustained without the metaphysical foundation that it is based in and of which it is an expression.   I believe that because that is what history has shown and my own experience has been.   I believe that the liberalism I believe in, far more radical than any materialist substitute, is the only practical chance of saving us, our environment and our democracy.  Equality, rights,  justice and the moral obligation to respect those are only durable in so far as they are believed to be an absolute gift and equal endowment given by and a requirement made by God. Any other attempt to give them a foundation is liable to the same corrosion mentioned above.  I am as certain of anything in politics as I can be that that is true.  Materialism is to liberalism as fluoric acid is to human tissue.

The assumption that liberalism was "substrate neutral"  was always baseless.  As are many of the other assumptions of secular liberalism.   It is not even compatible with materialism and a denial of the reality of moral obligations, liberalism will be corroded by those, without any doubt.  Another foundation that had the same properties would work but I doubt it would work as well without the radical and audacious holding of the Hebrew tradition in regard to human beings and their relationship with the very creator of the universe and humans to teach other.

The author of that article mistook that foundation for a crutch instead of what it really is, the prerequisite for those things to work or even exist.  When I look at the position of atheists in history and in culture, I see every reason to conclude that is the case.

* I can't find the article online.  Though I'm certain of the magazine and the author of the article, as well as the person quoted, I will leave it at this until I find the definite citation.  As I say, it's a line I've heard from atheists many times.

Hate Mail File

No, I won't take back calling Michael Kelly a war criminal, nor would I take it back for any of the propagandists leading the United States into the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a clearly illegal war brought by the Bush II regime which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, enabled some truly horrible people and which is ongoing in the so called "Islamic State" terror which is as certain a product of that illegal war as Al Qaeda and the Taliban were products of Reagan's war in Afghanistan.  Journalists who act as propagandists for illegal, unprovoked and idiotic wars should be considered among the worst of criminals and prosecuted.  That none has been is a serious danger in the age of mass indoctrination and the selling of lies by the mass media.   That Kelly died in the war he mongered doesn't change that he helped bring it about.   I have entirely more sympathy for the military driver who died with him, he didn't cause the war that got them both killed. 

If you didn't quite get it from the tenor of yesterday's post, I don't cut journalists any slack because they kill people with their keyboard instead of guns and bombs and tend to have college degrees and, unless they decide to have their big, neat, cool, military adventure, clean fingernails.  

Pavel Chesnokov - Magnificat


Julia Shibanova - Soprano (?)
Olga Stupneva - Director (?)


Gabriel Appeared

I'm posting this one because the bass soloist is quite amazing to hear and watch.   Here's another recording that you can follow with the music.

Gabriel Appeared 

Male choir "Kovcheg"
soloist: Alexey Doroshenko

Precentor (?) Alexey Telnov

Revealing to Thee the pre-eternal counsel,
Gabriel came and stood before Thee, O Maiden,
and in greeting said:
Rejoice, earth that has not been sown!
Rejoice, burning bush that remains unconsumed!
Rejoice, unsearchable depth!
Rejoice, bridge that leads to Heaven!
Rejoice, ladder raised on high that Jacob saw!
Rejoice, divine jar of manna!
Rejoice, deliverance from the curse!
Rejoice, restoration of Adam;
the Lord is with Thee!

Pavel Chesnokov's musical style is high romantic, in places his voice leading reminds me of Mahler's choral music.   The Russian romantic choral style is very distinctive and rich, nearly symphonic in sound at times but almost always very clear.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Antonio Soler - Magnificat


Concerto Italiano (Rinaldo Alessandrini)

This is an interesting setting, the first thing that I thought was even a bit strange were the quasi-barbershop quartet harmonies in the very beginning of it.

As a contrast to what I said about Bach's setting of "omnes generationes" notice how Soler says it once in a chordal passage at about 1:45 and that's that, whereas other parts of the text are emphasized by repetition and more contrapuntal treatment.  Different composers will want to bring out different parts of the text in different ways.

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse 

Cantarte Regensburg, Hubert Velten

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
O Root of Jesse, who stands as a sign of The People
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
before whom kings will shut their mouths
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
to whom The People will pray
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
come and free us, with no delay.

Healey Willan - O Adonai

O Adonai 

Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Rupert Lang, director.

Healey Willan at Evensong and Benediction [Live] - Magnificat, Ps. 117 and improvisation

A glimpse of Healey Willan (1880-1968) accompanying the Anglo-Catholic liturgy of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Toronto. Recorded live at Vespers and Benediction in 1966. 

The Revolution Will Not Be Pixilized

So, someone asked me what I thought of the weird demise of The New Republic. Which I have to say wasn't much different from someone asking me what I thought of Miley Cyrus doing whatever that desperate attention seeker has done to get attention - does anyone else feel like the pop industry and the internet has put us all into an early John Waters movie we saw after someone slipped us some acid?   I'll tell you, but I'll go farther than that.

I don't much care about The New Republic having the plug pulled -if you'll indulge an inverted metaphor made ironically - by some doofus internet billionaire. a power broker made so by the merit of having known Mark Zuckerberg in college.   I hadn't looked at much of it in decades, since it was taken over by another doofus who married into money, Marty Peretz. While there are those on the scribbling left who seem to be having some regrets over its death, I don't much care about them or their scribbler buddies or their careers in the scribbling trade.  My youthful faith in the power of a crusading liberal media is deader than TNR has been for the past several decades.  I pretty much despised it before the editorship of the late war criminal Michael Kelly and such guys (and they were all guys) as Andrew Sullivan were brought in to make it relevant to a new generation of soon to be middle age fogies.

The best and the brightest of the writing class got what they wanted in my youth when they fought against any restrictions on such violent, misogynistic crap as The Last Exit To Brooklyn, the stupid stand up of Lenny Bruce and the right of speech in the form of strippers to expose their genitals without g-strings (a great cause celebre of the "liberals" which, I saw the other day, is still being crusaded for) and look at the state of our politics.  I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THE STATE OF OUR POLITICS AND OUR MORAL LIVES!   I would just like for some of them to admit the role the economic self-interest of their profession has played in that disaster.

Every single bit of progress made on economic justice, equality, etc. has been thrown under the bus as a direct result of "liberals" who made money out of the media getting exactly what they really wanted.  I see them all as having a bit of David Horowitz in their souls.  At least potentially.   At this point there are few of the organs of that kind of lit'ry "liberalism" that could fall and I'd be bothered to notice it.

The only thing I looked at with any regularity in the most recent spewage of The New Republic are the oddly corseted ravings of Jerry Coyne.   I'd love to know how hard the editor had to work to reign in his typical raving lunatic blog style.   I suppose someone at The New Republic wanted to get on the neo-atheist bandwagon in the '00s another thing I'm hoping to see break down as this decade progresses.

I am a lot less impressed with journalism than I used to be.  It has always oversold its importance.  Online, the tiny little part of it which I had once hoped would bloom with thousands of I. F. Stones seems to be turning out more Hedda Hoppers and Walter Winchells,  Amanda Marcottes and Jerry Coynes.   Or, perhaps, the weird ability to see into the unedited tappings of people on the left merely gives us a mirror into the thinking behind the failure of liberalism* and that is what informs my skepticism of the value of "liberalism" as edited by the former organs of official liberalism, such as The New Republic used to be in the lost past.   It is as it always was, first and foremost, the libertarianism of those who made money from the media who didn't really care all that much about much of anything else.

There will be no liberal resurrection that is led by them, it will come from The People and I suspect it will have  the disdain of the scribbling class. Including the online one, the one that will trend on twitter and get posted on Talking Points Memo or Alternet, to cover that spectrum.

*  Update:  There are those who attribute his self-exposure as a racist crank online for the fall of Marty Peretz.

Hate Mail File A Nation Governed By Lies Believed By An Effective Margin Allowed By The First Amendment And The Supreme Court

I have gotten a bit of flack over my recent comments on the pantomime constitution that hundreds of millions have been duped into believing is the law of the land.  They especially don't like my dissing of the sacred bill of rights, though it is that idolized document that has both been the Trojan Horse for the corporate oligarchs to invade and destroy our democracy and which has armed the insane fascist militia that we are endangered by.

If what I said isn't true, that those are a fraud that covers the real government that actually makes the real laws that govern us, how come Senator Warren has to make the speech she did the other day pointing out the real government of us, put in place, first and foremost by the Supreme Court which has destroyed the progress towards government by The People using the bill of rights, turning politicians into the dependent servants of such entities as Citigroup?

Senator Warren On The Citigroup Coup

Every single aspect of the organized crime that really governs us allowed under that constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court that is given that constitutional power without any, real accountability.   Supreme Court justices put in office by a series of Republican-fascists starting with Richard Nixon, and aided, to a lesser extent by the devotees of "free speech" absolutism, placing that ideology above the absolute requirement of government by The People, accurate information and the disbelief of lies.

I won't go on because I hope you will listen to Senator Warren's speech, it deserves to be considered one of the greatest speeches made in our history.

Update:   And remember how she exposed the license to break the law given to the financial class that is part of the actual law of the land instead of the meaningless words in bills and codes of law.   That is a direct and actual result of the ability of the corporations to sell lies through the media, to install their stooges in governments and, so, in courts and the Supreme Court.

I will point out,  Senator Warren may be a senator from that bastion of Eastern liberalism, Massachusetts, but she is a gift to us all from Oklahoma.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O Adonai

O Adonai 

Cantarte Regensburg

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
O Lord and leader of the house of Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
who to Moses in the fire of the burning bush appeared
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
and who on Zion the law gave
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
come and save us with your extended arm.

J. S Bach - Magnificat in D BVW 243


Orchestra and Chorus of the Collegium Vocale Gent
Hana Blažíková, Margot Oitzinger - sopranos,
Robin Blaze - counter tenor,
Thomas Hobbs - tenor,
Peter Kooij - bass,
Philippe Herreweghe - conductor

The point I made the other day about the use of repetition of a phrase or word as a meditation or for emphasis is on full display in the way Bach set the words "omnes generationes" "all generations" in a massive choral passage which breaks abruptly into the pastoral meditation of the soprano at about 8:28 in this recording.  Maybe some day I'll count the number of times the word "omnes" is sung over and over in various ways to show as well as say "all" generations but it must run into the dozens of times.  

You can compare how, in the minor doxology at the end when Bach sets the words "Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, (et in saecula saeculorum)" ' As it was in the beginning, as now and ever shall be, world without end" in a chordal manner to emphasize hat passage as an affirmation of belief and faith.

Everything about this setting is perfect, from the notes, rhythm and counterpoint to the smallest detail of instrumentation.  There's a reason Bach has the reputation he does and this piece is one of them.

O Sapientia - Magnificat

O Sapientia - Magnificat 

 St. Francis of Assisi Church, Szendrő, Hungary (?)

This is an interesting performance of a choral setting of the antiphon and canticle, it's interesting how the antiphon seems to be far less familiar to the singers than the Magnificat, which would be sung far more often.  Perhaps it is their relationship to Christmas that makes the "O Antiphons" relatively popular with composers.  Here is a setting by the fairly little known but quite good English Scottish (my mistake) composer, Robert Ramsey.

O Sapientia 

Pomerium (?)


And a setting in German by the popular Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt

O Weisheit

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tönu Kaljuste

From The Gospel of Matthew - What I Was Reading Exactly A Year Ago

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.
An Introduction To Rosie's Place 

O Sapientia - Magnificat

O Sapientia - Magnificat 

Schola Gregoriana Hispana

The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the "Golden Nights." 

Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." Those titles for Christ are:
Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

The website that is taken from has more on the "O Antiphons" and sound files with them being chanted.